Dare County Board of Commissioners had its semi-monthly meeting at the
Fessenden Center in Buxton on Monday, Nov. 21, and Hurricane Matthew
recovery efforts dominated the meeting once again.
25-30 members of the community attended the meeting, which included
representatives from FEMA and the Small Business Administration,
National Park Service Outer Banks Group Superintendent David Hallac,
and Dare County Emergency Management Director Drew Pearson -- among
other county staff.
removal of debris – a relatively slow process and a bone of contention
for many residents – was a big topic that was revisited several times
during the meeting, starting with an update on the process from County
Manager Bobby Outten.
“It is not moving as fast as we had hoped it would,” said Outten.
explained the reasons behind the delay in detail, starting with the
widespread impact of Matthew. “Matthew hit five states… and resources
are thin for debris pick-up.”
addition, in order to receive FEMA funding for debris pickup, Dare
County has to accept the low-bid contractor that inevitably picks up
and removes the debris – a contract that was signed in the
“We knew what we expected, and laid those expectations out… [But] it’s been less than smooth,” said Outten.
also noted that while FEMA funds the removal of debris of state roads
or “numbered roads,” FEMA does not automatically pay for the
debris removal on private roads.
assuming that Dare County meet the criteria when removing debris from
these roads, FEMA would reimburse the county after the six-figure
project was done. “[Going forward] is not without risk, but as best as
we can tell, we meet that criteria,” said Outten.
vote was held to determine whether Dare County should clear the debris
from non-state roads, despite the lack of upfront funding from FEMA.
The board voted unanimously to go ahead move forward with clearing
non-state roads, in addition to state roads.
also noted that the debris removal contractor was encouraged to focus
resources on Hatteras Island, and particularly in Frisco and Hatteras.
The company had done two initial passes through Frisco and Hatteras up
to this point, Outten noted, and is doing a first pass through Avon on
Tuesday, Nov. 22.
also said it was time that all islanders have their final storm debris
in the right-of-way for collection, but Hatteras Island Commissioner
Allen Burrus noted that many residents are still tearing out damaged
areas of their homes.
addition to the updates and discussions on storm debris removal, Carol
Garcia from FEMA and Bradford Caldwell of the SBA also spoke to
encourage the public to contact their respective organizations for
help. FEMA and the SBA continue to have mobile stations and/or a
presence in Dare County, which includes an imminent mobile center in
Duck, and available staff at the social services office in Buxton.
Burrus noted that it was also important to get the word out that just
because people who apply for FEMA assistance received a denial letter,
it doesn't mean that assistance is completely unavailable, since
they can still appeal.
“[People] need to understand that it doesn’t have to end because they are denied,” said Burrus.
in the vein of storm recovery, the board recognized community member
Mary Ellon Ballance for her efforts after Hurricane Matthew. Ballance
organized the Hatteras village storm response, which included forming
volunteer clean-up crews, distributing supplies, and arranging meals
for the community. The board presented her with a Certificate of
one worked harder than this lady right here,” said Board Chairman Bob
Woodard. “You could tell [her efforts] came right from the heart.”
Ballance was tearful as she accepted the plaque, and made a brief statement.
moved here back in '98 and Hatteras village welcomed me with open arms.
They’ve always been there for me, so [helping] is just natural.”
meeting was also significant for Hatteras Island residents, as it
marked the last meeting for retiring commissioner Burrus. Burrus, who
decided not to run again for health reasons, will be replaced by
commissioner-elect Danny Couch, who was also in attendance.
thanked the multiple people he had worked with as a Board of Education
member, as well as county commissioner, including the county Public
Works Department, the Sheriff’s Department, the Emergency Management
Department, the Public Relations Department, and the public in general.
been] a beautiful ride. I appreciate all that goes with it,” said
Burrus. “I am thankful for the place we live in, and the opportunities
“I want to thank all the voters that put me here… you’re been supportive, and it’s been a wonderful thing.”
has served this community extremely well from the board," said Board
Chairman Bob Woodard. He's been a "diehard" for Hatteras Island,
"And," he said to Burrus, "you never held back when it came to speak your piece."
addition to storm recovery and the recognition of Burrus and Ballance,
several community members spoke during the public comments portion of
Weston thanked Drew Pearson and Dave Hallac for their efforts after the
storm, and gave an update on the break in the dune along Ocean View
Drive in Avon that occurred during Matthew. She said that the roughly
250-foot span, which needs attention, was in the process of receiving a
permanent fix, thanks to partnerships and/or conversations with FEMA,
CAMA, Dare County, and the National Park Service.
Farrow thanked the board for their clean-up efforts, but noted that the
mass clean-up efforts were spotty. “[you’re right that] they made a
pass through Hatteras village – they passed right through it,” he said.
“…There’s no rhyme or reason to how things are picked up.” He also
noted that stipulations were needed to make sure that the vehicles
being used for debris removal were up to NCDOT standards, and stated
that someone from Hatteras Island should be on the Control Board to
help determine evacuation decisions.
House spoke regarding a petition to N.C. Marine Fisheries about
rule changes that will limit shrimp fishing and shrimp nets, and which
affects the sound waters as well as ocean waters up to 3 miles
Doshier called upon board member Wally Overman to “step up to the
plate” and fulfill campaign promises made during the election,
especially pertaining to teachers and county employees. She also noted
that the East Lake community has not been addressed during the storm
debris conversation and needed to be tended to.
The next Board of Commissioners meeting will be on Dec. 5 at 9 a.m. in Manteo.